A Groundbreaking Innovation Pipeline

2022 was another tremendous year for innovation at CU Boulder. Campus researchers and inventors created a strong crop of 145 breakthrough technologies this past year. These spanned the breadth of CU Boulder’s research expertise, with innovations in climate tech, biotechnology, quantum science, optics and aerospace, to name a few.

The mission of Venture Partners at CU Boulder is to catalyze the translation of research into successful commercial ventures. In 2022, we executed 87 license and option agreements to partner CU Boulder technologies with commercial businesses, including 12 newly formed startup companies we helped create. Our startup portfolio raised $337 million in new capital over the past year. Two of our spinout companies, SomaLogic and Solid Power, went public in 2022; each listed on the NASDAQ with an opening valuation of more than $2 billion.

Venture Partners is driving a shift in how university innovations can achieve market success. CU Boulder is a place where creative problem solvers are well-resourced to transform their innovations into new businesses. Our suite of programs and partnerships address the challenges of entrepreneurship within scientific and engineering fields.

Many long-planned initiatives came to fruition in 2022. We joined our partners at the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles to launch the I-CorpsTM Hub West Region, a program that trains researchers in fundamental principles of entrepreneurship. We ran the first-ever cohort of Ascent, CU Boulder’s new accelerator for deep tech startups. In an exciting development, we helped create and partnered with Buff Venture Fund, the first venture capital fund dedicated to investing in CU Boulder startups. Looking ahead to 2023, we will continue to grow our ecosystem with Embark, a program that connects experienced startup executives with world-class innovations and seed funding to launch new companies.

Our work creates a positive impact on society. In materials science, recent CU Boulder spinouts Tynt Technologies and Prometheus Materials are addressing climate change by tackling energy loss from building windows and the massive carbon emissions in concrete production. In the domain of health and wellness, startups Xalud Therapeutics and OnKure Therapeutics are combatting chronic pain and cancer in late clinical trials.

At the level of economic impact, a 2022 report from the Leeds School of Businesses measured CU Boulder’s commercialization impact on the national economy at $8 billion over the past five years. University research holds the potential to transform lives and address the world’s greatest challenges. It is our responsibility and privilege to help ensure this potential is realized.

We would like to express our gratitude to the many people and partners who made this such a successful year at Venture Partners. To the many talented and dedicated researchers at the university—our faculty, graduate students and professional research staff—we are continually inspired by your creativity and expertise and appreciate your collaboration. To our close partners in the local and national innovation ecosystems— entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and governmental agencies—we are grateful for your continued support and partnership. To our mentors, your volunteer time and expertise are invaluable to our work. Finally, to the dedicated and talented team members at Venture Partners, who support CU Boulder in its place as a national leader, you are a source of innovation and a force for hope and progress in the world.

Cover of the 2022 Annual Report

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Bryn ReesBryn Rees

Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation; Managing Director of Venture Partners at CU Boulder

Massimo Ruzzene

Massimo Ruzzene

Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation; Dean of the Institutes